Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Monday, 9 June 2014

Professor Efraim Karsh: "Adherence to Islamist ideals has subordinated Palestinian identity to the far wider ambition of Islamic world domination"

Professor Efraim Karsh's typically learned yet typically lucid and accessible article in the current (Summer 2014) Middle East Quarterly deserves to be widely read and widely shared.

Titled "Palestinian Leaders Don't Want An Independent State", it traces the sorry sinister saga of Arab rejectionism, its causes, and its implications.

Inter alia, Efraim Karsh's article observes:
'The Palestinian leadership's serial rejection of the numerous opportunities for statehood since the Peel Commission report of 1937 casts a serious doubt on its interest in the creation of an independent state. Instead of engaging in the daunting tasks of nation-building and state creation, all Palestinian leaders without any exception—from the Jerusalem mufti Hajj Amin Husseini, who led the Palestinian Arabs from the early 1920s to the late 1940s; to Yasser Arafat, who dominated Palestinian politics from the mid-1960s to his death in November 2004; to Mahmoud Abbas—have preferred to immerse their hapless constituents in disastrous conflicts that culminated in their collective undoing and continued statelessness. At the same time, of course, these leaders have lined their pockets from the proceeds of this ongoing tragedy.
It can be shown that the main sources of this self-destructive conduct are pan-Arab delusions, Islamist ideals, and the vast financial and political gains attending the perpetuation of Palestinian misery....
If subscription to the pan-Arab dream has made the Palestinian cause captive to inter-Arab machinations, stirring unrealistic hopes and expectations in Palestinian political circles and, at key junctures, inciting widespread and horrifically destructive violence that has made the likelihood of Palestinian statehood ever more remote, adherence to Islamist ideals has subordinated Palestinian identity to the far wider ambition of Islamic world domination....
Nor is this supremacist worldview limited to Hamas. Since its rise in the early seventh century, Islam has constituted the linchpin of Middle Eastern politics, and its hold on Palestinian society is far stronger than is commonly recognized. Contrary to the received wisdom in the West, the PLO is hardly a secular organization. Arafat was a devout Muslim, associated in his early days with the Muslim Brotherhood, as were other founding fathers of Fatah, the PLO's foremost constituent organization. And while the new generation of Fatah leaders in the territories may be less religious, they, nevertheless, have a draft constitution for a prospective Palestinian state stipulating that "Islam is the official religion in Palestine" and Shari'a is "a main source for legislation."
 They have, moreover, utilized the immense inflammatory potential of Islam to discredit the two-state solution—and by implication, the prospect of Palestinian statehood—and to express their grandiose supremacist delusions....
Within these grand overlapping schemes of pan-Arab regional unity and Islamic world domination, the notion of Palestinian statehood is but a single transient element whose supposed centrality looms far greater in Western than in Islamic and Arab eyes....
For nearly a century, Palestinian leaders have missed no opportunity to impede the development of Palestinian civil society and the attainment of Palestinian statehood. Had Hajj Amin Husseini chosen to lead his constituents to peace and reconciliation with their Jewish neighbors, the Palestinians would have had their independent state over a substantial part of mandate Palestine by 1948, if not a decade earlier, and would have been spared the traumatic experience of dispersal and exile. Had Arafat set the PLO from the start on the path to peace and reconciliation instead of turning it into one of the most murderous and corrupt terrorist organizations in modern times, a Palestinian state could have been established in the late 1960s or the early 1970s; in 1979, as a corollary to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty; by May 1999, as part of the Oslo process; or at the very latest, with the Camp David summit of July 2000. Had Abbas abandoned his predecessors' rejectionist path, a Palestinian state could have been established after the Annapolis summit of November 2007, or during President Obama's first term after Benjamin Netanyahu broke with the longstanding Likud precept by publicly accepting in June 2009 the two-state solution and agreeing to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
But then, the attainment of statehood would have shattered Palestinian leaders' pan-Arab and Islamist delusions, not to mention the kleptocratic paradise established on the backs of their long suffering subjects. It would have transformed the Palestinians in one fell swoop from the world's ultimate victim into an ordinary (and most likely failing) nation-state thus terminating decades of unprecedented international indulgence. It would have also driven the final nail in the PLO's false pretense to be "the sole representative of the Palestinian people" (already dealt a devastating blow by Hamas's 2006 electoral rout) and would have forced any governing authority to abide, for the first time in Palestinian history, by the principles of accountability and transparency. Small wonder, therefore, that whenever confronted with an international or Israeli offer of statehood, Palestinian leaders would never take "yes" for an answer.'
Read the entire (footnoted and illustrated) article here
On the same topic, see also here

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